decline a job promotiondecline a job promotiondecline a job promotion

I was ready to throw a curve into my incredibly straight-lined career trajectory. After months of reconciling this decision in my head, it was time to tell my principal my decision to decline a job promotion.

I wanted to start the conversation by screaming “this job has single-handedly crushed me.” But I knew that I couldn’t. I was so afraid that my emotions would hinder my ability to clearly articulate my decision. I knew that announcing the decision to decline a job promotion to my principal would be the first of many conversations that I would have with coworkers and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted and judgment would follow.

As I walked into the nurse’s vestibule, our chosen meeting location, my mind jumped back to my first moments as a Dean, three years earlier.

By the time I was 3 weeks into the job I was already miserable. Not only did we have a 6-month-old who wasn’t sleeping through the night, but I found the task of being a Dean to be completely crushing. I was setting my alarm on the weekends to get on phone calls with my supervisor. I was staying up late responding to emails because I wanted teachers to feel like I was supporting them. I was going to school early and staying late to show that I was helpful and receive praise for always being available from those that I supervised.

I felt like I had two primary responsibilities: take care of teachers and students at work, and take care of my daughter, Mabel, at home. During the few hours I had at home, I would pour all of my energy into Mabel, even to the point of sitting next to her crib in a chair and patting her little back for hours so that she would sleep.

My long hours at work and my sheer exhaustion at home left me with very little emotional or physical energy left for my wife or for myself. But as a father, I believed it was my role to financially provide for our family. Positional responsibility in the field of education seemed like the only way to make more money, so I believed it was my responsibility to make it work.

Each year I stayed at the job, I felt like I was drowning even deeper in a sea of problems I couldn’t fix. I desperately wanted to do well in my career so I could somehow prove that the time away from my family was worth it, but that affirmation never came. During the summer when I was off from work, I was a completely different person. This cycle of anxiety and stress lasted for three years.

Sitting across from my principal in the vestibule, I was brought back to the present.

I had prepped the articulation of my decision for weeks. I had practiced in the mirror, on my walk to school, on the phone with my dad, and in my therapist’s office with my wife, Emily. “I really appreciate the opportunity that you’ve given me to work as a Dean, but I want to return to the classroom next year,” I said, staring straight into my principal’s eyes. A weight was lifted from my shoulders. I waited for his response.

Until this point, my adult personal and professional life had followed a pretty predictable path. I went to college, got my first teaching job, got married, moved to NYC, got a new teaching job, went to grad school, continued teaching, attended and finished a teacher leadership program, and had my first baby. As a male elementary school teacher, many people assumed I would teach for a few years and then move on to an administrative position, because it was a way to make more money. They never assumed I would decline a job promotion.

Emily never asked or demanded that I make more money or take on more responsibility at work. Mabel never said, “Daddy, I’ll only love you if you supervise people and have a job where people think you’re important.” 3 years earlier, when my principal asked me to apply for the Dean of Academics position, I said “Sounds good!” somewhat naively. I was unconcerned about learning more about the position’s day-to-day responsibilities or work hour expectations because it felt validating simply to be asked to apply for the position.

His response came.

“Sounds good, I’m happy for you.”

Given the amount of time that I had anguished over my decision to step down from my position and decline a job promotion, I initially felt that his response was a bit anticlimactic.

Since then, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time unpacking his response. As I write all of this, I’m realizing my principal’s response of, “Sounds good, I’m happy for you,” was one of the kindest and gentlest responses he could have given. There was no judgement in his tone or delivery, and his statement “I’m happy for you,” preserved my dignity. My decision to decline a job promotion was affirmed by countless friends and co-workers. Several teachers at my school said, “You’re showing people that it’s okay to simply teach.”

In the end, I did take a pay cut to return to the classroom, but I was also able to gain more hours home each week with the girls and more time off in the summer. Stepping back into the classroom this past August was freeing in even more ways than I had anticipated. I smile at work. I laugh with students. I no longer have the “Sunday Blues”. I actually love my job again!

It has been an amazing school year, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I gave myself to start again.

decline a job promotion

Thanks for pinning!

I'm Tyler Moore 

My wife and I live with our three young girls in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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June 19, 2019

Tidying Up My Work Life

decline a job promotiondecline a job promotiondecline a job promotion

I was ready to throw a curve into my incredibly straight-lined career trajectory. After months of reconciling this decision in my head, it was time to tell my principal my decision to decline a job promotion.

I wanted to start the conversation by screaming “this job has single-handedly crushed me.” But I knew that I couldn’t. I was so afraid that my emotions would hinder my ability to clearly articulate my decision. I knew that announcing the decision to decline a job promotion to my principal would be the first of many conversations that I would have with coworkers and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted and judgment would follow.

As I walked into the nurse’s vestibule, our chosen meeting location, my mind jumped back to my first moments as a Dean, three years earlier.

By the time I was 3 weeks into the job I was already miserable. Not only did we have a 6-month-old who wasn’t sleeping through the night, but I found the task of being a Dean to be completely crushing. I was setting my alarm on the weekends to get on phone calls with my supervisor. I was staying up late responding to emails because I wanted teachers to feel like I was supporting them. I was going to school early and staying late to show that I was helpful and receive praise for always being available from those that I supervised.

I felt like I had two primary responsibilities: take care of teachers and students at work, and take care of my daughter, Mabel, at home. During the few hours I had at home, I would pour all of my energy into Mabel, even to the point of sitting next to her crib in a chair and patting her little back for hours so that she would sleep.

My long hours at work and my sheer exhaustion at home left me with very little emotional or physical energy left for my wife or for myself. But as a father, I believed it was my role to financially provide for our family. Positional responsibility in the field of education seemed like the only way to make more money, so I believed it was my responsibility to make it work.

Each year I stayed at the job, I felt like I was drowning even deeper in a sea of problems I couldn’t fix. I desperately wanted to do well in my career so I could somehow prove that the time away from my family was worth it, but that affirmation never came. During the summer when I was off from work, I was a completely different person. This cycle of anxiety and stress lasted for three years.

Sitting across from my principal in the vestibule, I was brought back to the present.

I had prepped the articulation of my decision for weeks. I had practiced in the mirror, on my walk to school, on the phone with my dad, and in my therapist’s office with my wife, Emily. “I really appreciate the opportunity that you’ve given me to work as a Dean, but I want to return to the classroom next year,” I said, staring straight into my principal’s eyes. A weight was lifted from my shoulders. I waited for his response.

Until this point, my adult personal and professional life had followed a pretty predictable path. I went to college, got my first teaching job, got married, moved to NYC, got a new teaching job, went to grad school, continued teaching, attended and finished a teacher leadership program, and had my first baby. As a male elementary school teacher, many people assumed I would teach for a few years and then move on to an administrative position, because it was a way to make more money. They never assumed I would decline a job promotion.

Emily never asked or demanded that I make more money or take on more responsibility at work. Mabel never said, “Daddy, I’ll only love you if you supervise people and have a job where people think you’re important.” 3 years earlier, when my principal asked me to apply for the Dean of Academics position, I said “Sounds good!” somewhat naively. I was unconcerned about learning more about the position’s day-to-day responsibilities or work hour expectations because it felt validating simply to be asked to apply for the position.

His response came.

“Sounds good, I’m happy for you.”

Given the amount of time that I had anguished over my decision to step down from my position and decline a job promotion, I initially felt that his response was a bit anticlimactic.

Since then, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time unpacking his response. As I write all of this, I’m realizing my principal’s response of, “Sounds good, I’m happy for you,” was one of the kindest and gentlest responses he could have given. There was no judgement in his tone or delivery, and his statement “I’m happy for you,” preserved my dignity. My decision to decline a job promotion was affirmed by countless friends and co-workers. Several teachers at my school said, “You’re showing people that it’s okay to simply teach.”

In the end, I did take a pay cut to return to the classroom, but I was also able to gain more hours home each week with the girls and more time off in the summer. Stepping back into the classroom this past August was freeing in even more ways than I had anticipated. I smile at work. I laugh with students. I no longer have the “Sunday Blues”. I actually love my job again!

It has been an amazing school year, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I gave myself to start again.

decline a job promotion

Thanks for pinning!

June 19, 2019

Tidying Up My Work Life

About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our three young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our three young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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